The Galveston County teams competing did not have their game plan go quite as hoped Friday in Day 2 of the Texas 7on7 Championships held at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex in College Station.
Hitchcock’s tournament ended in the first round of the Division II championship bracket with a 34-27 overtime loss to Melissa, while Dickinson and Clear Springs are headed to the Division I consolation bracket Saturday after their respective showings in pool play Friday.
After splitting their first two games, the Gators’ championship bracket hopes came down to their final game of the day against Cedar Park Vista Ridge, which saw the Rangers come through with a clutch final drive to win, 39-33.
Dickinson led by as much as 20-12 early on after a touchdown connection from Mike Welch to Jarell Simpson — Simpson’s second TD grab of the game. But, Vista Ridge scored a TD right before the end of the first half, and a Dickinson interception followed by another Rangers TD swung the game’s momentum.
The Gators fought back to tie the game twice after that before Vista Ridge’s last-second TD sealed the win. While rotating quarterbacks with Welch and Marlon Allen each possession, other TD receptions in the game came from Darryl Harris, Dailon Farmer and Donovan Green.
“I liked the way we competed,” said Dickinson head coach John Snelson, who was in attendance to observe the team. “We stayed focused when we were up, and we didn’t get negative and get down on ourselves whenever we got down. … We just had a good time; just wish we would’ve won a little more.”
Per UIL regulations, high school coaches cannot coach their school’s 7on7 teams.
Dickinson started off the day strong defensively with a 25-12 win over Aldine Eisenhower. After falling behind early, 6-0, the Gators rattled off 25 unanswered points before Eisenhower added a late TD. The Gators’ TD receptions came from Jathan Caldwell (twice), David De Los Santos and Green.
In their second game, the Gators saw Denton Guyer pull away late for a 48-33 win. A TD reception from Farmer cut Guyer’s lead to 35-33 early in the second half, but a pair of Wildcats TDs and defensive stands clinched the victory.
In what was a back-and-forth affair for most of the game, Green, Harris (twice) and Ahmad Reed also had TD receptions.
Playing in arguably the toughest pool, Clear Springs came up short in a pair of one-point heartbreakers (21-20 against Cedar Hill and 45-44 against Beaumont West Brook) before falling to pool favorite Austin Lake Travis, 35-25.
A missed extra point following a TD connection from Garrett Rooker to Kaleb Hymes left the Longhorns ahead 21-20, but the Chargers’ defense got a clutch three-and-out stop to give the offense the chance to win the game with time winding down. Rooker drove the team into the red zone but could not beat the clock to get off a play before the final whistle.
Both teams were impressive on defense in the first half, which saw Kirk Collins snag an interception, as Cedar Hill led 7-6 at the break. Elliott Brow also recorded an interception in the second half. Other Chargers with TD receptions in the game were Bryce Ryden and Reggie Carr.
Clear Springs got off to a 14-0 lead against West Brook, and led 44-33 in the second half, only to see the Bruins rally back for the lead both times.
Seth Staats and Michael McBride got Clear Springs’ first two TD receptions, but West Brook answered back with two unanswered TDs of its own. A long bomb to Carr and another Bruins TD saw the score knotted, 21-21, at halftime.
West Brook took its first lead of the game on the opening possession of the second half, but Collins got some points back for the Chargers by intercepting the point after try and returning it the other way for two points.
After a Staats TD and another West Brook TD, Clear Springs looked like it was taking control when a pair of Carr TDs (the latter another long one) sandwiched a West Brook three-and-out. But, West Brook responded in kind, and then came through with a goal line stand late to lock up the win.
Against Lake Travis, the Cavaliers raced out to a 14-0 lead on two one-play TD drives and left the Chargers trying to play catch-up for the remainder of the contest. After three straight series that ended on turnovers on downs, Lake Travis took a 21-0 lead before Clear Springs finally got on the scoreboard at the end of the first half on a McBride TD reception.
A Ky Woods TD reception got Clear Springs to within 21-13 to start the second half, but that’s as close as the Chargers would get in this one. Staats also had a TD reception in the contest.
Dickinson and Clear Springs begin consolation bracket play at 8 a.m. Saturday. The Gators start the day off against Tyler John Tyler, while the Chargers will face Coppell.